So for a while now, I’d been meaning to attend a writing conference, but I just hadn’t been able to find the right one. Conventions like WorldCon and World Fantasy are compelling, but there’s a significant difference between a convention and a conference. Now as far as conferences are concerned, there are some excellent ones that focus on the craft of writing, like the intensive 6 week Clarion program for instance, but as useful as information on craft can be, much of that information can be gleaned from other sources, like creative writing courses, books on writing, and by simply reading lots and lots of fiction.
What I was looking for, however, was a conference that focused on the business of being a successful author of fiction, and so I found Superstars Writing. Its tagline is: “Teaching you the Business of being a Writer”. It seemed like the perfect fit for me, and as it turned out, it was even better than I envisioned.
The instructors this year were a virtual who’s who of successful science fiction and fantasy authors, including Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, Brandon Sanderson, James A. Owen, and Eric Flint, and throughout the conference they covered topics such as publishing economics, copyright, marketing, self-promotion, and contract conditions. We also learned all sorts of useful information about traditional publishing as compared to self-publishing, enough for any budding author to determine which path is best for him or her.
Although these lectures contained a treasure trove of useful information, the best lecture of them all was actually a motivational speech given by the inspiring James A. Owen. I can’t replicate his speech here, so there’s no point in trying, but I can relate his two most powerful messages, which apply not just to writing but to life as a whole:
1) If you really, really want to do something, no one can stop you, but if you don’t strive for something with all your heart, no one can help you.
2) Never sacrifice what you want the most in life for what you want the most in life at that very moment.
I will finish by saying that the entire conference was a fantastic networking opportunity. Every single attendee, from the instructors to those of us in the crowd, were friendly, accessible, knowledgeable, and most importantly, passionate about writing. I think every single instructor was truly vested in seeing us aspiring authors succeed.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and I hope to be able to attend again next year.